Undercover cops arrested two women in Laredo, Texas, for violating the city's COVID-19 shutdown order. The women, Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia and Brenda Stephanie Mata, had been operating prohibited cosmetology businesses from their home.
The Laredo lockdown mandates that "non-essential" businesses, including cosmetology services, must close. Police say the women were reported anonymously through the department's app.
"Both of the violators independently solicited customers via social media," the department told the Laredo Morning Times. "On both cases, an undercover officer working on the COVID-19 task force enforcement detail made contact with each solicitor to set up an appointment for a cosmetic, beauty service that is prohibited under the emergency ordinance." Police posing as customers then arrested both women in their homes.
Both women were charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which comes with a maximum potential penalty of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The two women were released on $500 personal recognizance bonds.
Their arrests are yet more evidence of law enforcement's self-defeating trend of arresting people for violating stay-at-home orders and social distancing protocols. (The Atlanta Constitution Journal has published a long list of examples here.) Arrests, by their very nature, require police and suspects to come into physical contact with each other. The people being arrested are then put in jails that have become breeding grounds for the novel coronavirus.
The longer local and state lockdown orders remain in place, the more authoritarian the enforcement seems to get.